Prince and Kurt Cobain guitars get record bids at auction

BEVERLY HILLS, California. – If every object tells a story, then Prince’s Cloud 2 Blue Angel guitar, which the legendary pop star started playing during his 1984 Purple Rain tour, and Kurt Cobain’s 1959 Martin D-18E Guitar, played during Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged concert, its like War and peace, they are epic!

These legendary guitars are the star of Julien’s Auctions this month and Executive Director Martin Nolan says they can hit record breaking prizes. This auction is also the first personal event since the pandemic has shut things down.


What you need to know

  • Iconic guitars that belonged to Prince, Kurt Cobain, under the star lots of Julien’s Auctions this month
  • Cloud 2 Blue Angel first played by Prince on Purple Rain tour, Cobain’s Martin D-18E used for MTV Unplugged
  • Both items are expected to set the world record at auction
  • The demand for rock memorabilia remains high, and such items are expected to increase over time

“We have people in the room, so it’s a live auction,” said Nolan. “The auctioneer will be here. Our employees will be here, social distance, masks, gloves. ”

Nolan says that buyers search not only for objects, but also for memories. Nirvana’s 1993 MTV Unplugged concert was a legendary moment in the band’s history and Nolan said that is why Cobain’s guitar is treasured and bids are likely to be unprecedented.

‘[It could fetch] over $ 3 million, which would be a world record, “Nolan said.

But why do people invest in memorabilia today in our current time of economic uncertainty?

“It’s a tangible asset,” said Nolan. “They can tell stories about it from morning to night. You own something that you will appreciate in the years to come and you can sell for more than you paid for today. ‘

While Nolan was originally from the world of Wall Street, he says there are parallels here in the world of high stakes auctions. Instead of trading stocks, he now trades in pop culture iconography.

“Auctions [have been] for more than 1,000 years, ”said Nolan. “It is one of the oldest forms of trade and I harvest the stories. I love that. To help verify and prove that this was the Cloud 2 guitar Prince played from the Purple Rain tour to Diamonds and pearls. ‘

Nolan says he also loves the drama these auctions bring. It is theater of the highest order and the stakes are enormous.

“It’s entertainment. It is rock and roll. It is an event, so everyone is welcome, “said Nolan.

The auction includes a wide variety of rock and roll memorabilia, items from Madonna and Elton John to Johnny Cash and Liberace. For each his own.

“That in itself is historical,” Nolan added. “This is the last time this great collection is in one place.”

Nolan said that many of today’s collectors grew up with the artists represented at the auction and now have the money to buy a piece of their history. Judging by the record-breaking bids, for some, the price is no object.

The auctions are on Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20 at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills.

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